The rapid onset of winter weather has slowed the warmwater fishes’ metabolisms. In the hope of locating river fish that have entered spring branches to feed, I waded into a familiar spring pool with a constant 54-degree water temperature and began casting down and across the current with size-12 nymphs. Twenty minutes without a hit led me to a large slow eddy and a fly change to a size-10 white/silver Mini Minnie. The first strip of line was halted by a firm tug which led to the landing of a chunky Rock Bass, locally known as Goggle Eye. Eight more came to hand before the action ceased. Further upstream on the spring branch I went fishless as the warmwater immigrants had not yet moved that far.
Several cool evenings have invigorated the bluegill populations. They are spending longer periods on and near the shallow flats feeding to build reserves for the coming winter. Olive Bully’s Bluegill Spiders cast to the edge of the flats and counted down (one thousand one, one thousand two, etc.) to a depth of 3 feet before imparting action provided consistent action. Many strikes came on the vertical drop and others on the first short strip. A 10-incher’s valiant fight provided a fitting end to a memorable evening.
Carrying a 3 wt., floating line, a 9′ leader tapered to 4X, and a size-10 black Bully Spider, I crunched across a gravel bar in search of Green Sunfish and Longear Sunfish. Deadfalls divert the current from protected pockets in the long pool chosen for my first casts. Solid strikes greeted my casts that were vertically dropped among the branches and logs. Several of the muscular green sunfish won the battle to stay at home but faar more were brought to hand and released. Many pockets held brightly-colored longear that hit like they wanted to steal my rod and reel. Their beauty rivals any fish that swims. Big fish are fun, but some evenings sunfish are “funner.”
As one who is willing to fly fish in any environment for any species, I must confess to a lifelong passion for wading warmwater streams. Nature’s beauty, quality fishing, and solitude provide an overwhelming inducement to continue slogging up and down streams and an endless number of little rivers. While it’s true that I can no longer cover the distances I once did, I apparently can still walk through a quality pair of wading boots. I’ll leave it to your imagination to know the wonderful memories my old boots allowed me to experience.
The 9 ft. 3 wt., 2 piece Sage RPL+ has found a new home, but two high-quality pre-owned rods remain for sale: A 8-1/2 ft. 6 wt., 2 piece Sage RPL + which comes in a rod bag and its original aluminum rod tube for $250.00 and an 8-1/2 ft. 4 wt. 4 piece Redington CTRS4 which comes in a rod bag and its original Cordura-covered tube for $200.00. Both rods are in excellent condition.